I Need A Plan

The past few weeks without having a race to train for is making me nuts.

Will Ferrel Crazy Pills

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I have been getting to the gym, which is great, but I hate feeling so aimless.

I decided to look back on a few of my 2012 goals. One that has been haunting me is to run a sub-30 5K. My last 5K was a disaster. I did just about everything wrong from starting out too fast to attempting to run at a pace that was much too fast. What I want now is redemption. I have the time to focus only on 5K’s and I want that sub-30.

The June issue of Runner’s World has an article called Time For A Fast 5-K. The article focuses on three goals a sub-30, sub-25, and a sub-20 5K. It contains a five-week training plan and lots of information on speed work. The article could not have come at a better time.

The Lakeland Runner’s Club hosts a series of races called the Watermelon Series. It is four races June 2, June 23, July 21, and August 18. If you register ahead of time, you can do all four races for $40. It’s a great deal and will give me four shots to reach my goal.

Do you have a goal that’s haunting you?

My Ten Step Plan For Having It All (And Still Having Time To Watch TV)

Just kidding, I don’t really have a ten step plan. I have been able to get to the gym before work one time this week which is a massive accomplishment for me.

Newt Gingrich Winning The Future

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(Sorry about the scary Newt. Just wanted to rub it in how no one is sad that Newt is no longer “running for President.”)

The plan is to get all my workouts in before work, minus whenever I work up the nerve to try my first spin class.

I am also going through this book and attempting to learn about weight training.

The Body Sculpting Bible For Women Book

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The Body Sculpting Bible For Women is extremely detailed in going over the proper way to perform the exercises and how to put together a weight lifting program. It’s been years since I had access to a gym and I want to make sure I am taking advantage of it.

I have had my nose in another book.

Eragon Book by Christopher Paolini

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Eragon has been out for years and I do not know how it escaped my attention. I am halfway through and it is just wonderful. If you have not read this book, I highly recommend it.

So lots of reading and lots of attempts at being the kind of person who gets to the gym before work. One day, I might even enjoy running on the treadmill.

My First Week Back To Work

This might sound crazy, but I am actually glad to be back to work.

I'm shocked cat

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Don’t get me wrong, two months of sleeping late and watching more TV than normal was nice. It turns out I actually like leaving my house everyday and having an income. Having people other than cats to talk to during the day is also nice.

Tail The Cute Cat And All Of His Toys

(It is true that my house is full of nothing but cat furniture and toys.)

I am slowly getting adjusted to being on a regular schedule again. It will probably take a few weeks until I am completely acclimated into being around people in actual pants but I am getting there.

My first week was all over the place workout-wise.

Workouts First Week Back To Work

My running is way down but I did at least get one full body strength training session in. ( I did Jackie Warner’s Power Circuit Training.) It also demonstrated how much more frequently I need to strength train because the abs circuits nearly killed me. (I may have been swearing and had a cat staring at me like I was a crazy person.)

I joined a gym for the first time in a few years. It is halfway between work and home. The location is perfect because I have to drive by it to get to work. My plan is to get my easy and speed/tempo runs done on the treadmill before work. It is getting to that point in the year where the oppressive heat and humidity of Florida is wrecking my runs. I think the gym is the best solution to keep my mileage up. Plus, how can I skip going when I have to drive by the place twice a day?

I have no races in the near future and this is the first time in six months where I am not on a training plan. To keep my motivation going, I plan on running four days a week (two easy, one speed/tempo, and one long run) and doing strength training twice a week. The new gym offers Les Mills classes, so I want to give those a shot and see if I like any of them. I want to try spinning but do feel a bit intimidated by it. (I am scouring the internet for spinning for dummies type articles. My best bet is to tell the instructor I am new and have them help me get set-up.)

I did get my biopsy results back and I do not have cancer.

Liz Lemon High Fiving A Million Angels

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What We Leave Behind

The Book Of Jonas A Novel By Stephan Dau Book Review

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The Book Of Jonas by Stephen Dau is a powerful and haunting novel that exists in a place where there are no good or bad guys and where the effects of war are given a human face. Jonas is a teenage boy when his village is attacked. He survives by fleeing to the mountain where his father tells him to go in case of an emergency. A US soldier named Christopher follows him into the cave and offers him first-aid. Throughout the book, the story of Christopher and Jonas become forever intertwined.

Jonas is given an opportunity to live in the US. An aid group arranges everything, including a college scholarship. Jonas struggles to fit into this new world and is forced into therapy. He reveals bits and pieces of his life to the therapist but he is unable to face the truth until the very end.

This book is beautifully written and expertly executed. Stephen Dau is able to take a subject that is highly political, such as how soldiers could target the wrong village, and takes the reader through the desperation and longing of loss. Even going into this book with a preconceived notion about US occupation in foreign lands, which I did, it is difficult to pick a side. Impossible to say what is right. The characters are fully formed but vague enough that they could almost be anybody. It could be your neighbor or son. The toll that war takes changes everyone around it.

To join in on the discussion, visit the BlogHer Book Club.

This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

What TV To Watch

I don’t know if you were aware, but I love TV almost as much as I love cats. This is my list of must watch shows for the upcoming week.

Sunday

Game Of Thrones TV Show

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Game Of Thrones might be the best show on TV. The episodes never waste a moment and with more characters than any other show, that is a good thing. Extra points for the most informative and intricate ever-changing opening.

Girls On HBO Show

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Girls is a new show premiering on April 15th on HBO. Here is the synopsis from TV.com.

Lena Dunham, creator of 2010′s critically acclaimed independent film, Tiny Furniture, partners with Judd Apatow (Freaks & Geeks, Knocked Up) for a new series on HBO. The show, much like Dunham’s film, takes a comically wry and offbeat look at the ups and downs of a group of twenty-something girlfriends living in New York City. The cast includes Dunham as Hannah, an intern at a publishing house in SoHo; Marnie, a motivated assistant at a political PR firm and Jessa; a down-to-earth girl who wants to be an artist and teacher.

I will have to reserve my judgment until after I see the pilot but the reviews are positive. It is definitely worth giving this show a slot on your DVR.

The Killing AMC

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The Killing is a controversial show. It recently started its second season and many (former) fans refused to watch because we still do not know who killed Rosie Larsen. I am in the camp that the show is still solid and interesting enough to hang through at least one more season. Plus I really want to know who the killer is.

Monday

Smash TV Show

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Smash is a really good show. I love the behind look at a putting together a Broadway musical. There is so much drama that is coupled with excellent singing and dancing.

Tuesday

Don't Trust The B In Apt. 23 ABC

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Don’t Trust The B In Apt 23 premiered last week and it is quirky. Why should you watch?

  • One main character is a terrible person almost in a cartoonish way
  • James Van Der Beek plays himself

Revenge TV Show ABC

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My TV guilty pleasure, I love Revenge. There is not a weak episode so far and I can only imagine what Amanda has in store for the rest of season one.

Thursday

Touch TV Show Fox

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Touch is a show with a lot of heart that tells great stories. Even though some of the episodes are a tinge formulaic, watching Kiefer Sutherland get from point A to point B is fascinating. I love how clearly we can see the interconnectedness of each story every week. This show has a lot of potential.

Awake TV SHow

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One of the most unusual concepts in recent memory. Awake is well written and has a great feel. I hope the ratings improve because this show deserves a chance.

Friday

Fringe TV Show Fox

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Fringe does not deserve the ratings it receives. The show has never been better. I will be very upset if it does not get another season.

Netflix Streaming

Teen Wolf TV MTV

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Slightly cheesy but pretty good for a summer show on MTV. I am halfway through the first season and should be caught up before season two starts.

What’s on your must watch list?

Good News Bad News

Party_Button

I got a job!

Being unemployed since mid-January has been trying. Looking for a job is literally the worst job I have ever had. (Working retail might have been worse.) This economy does not make it easy. Many listings have a long list of job duties coupled with a very small salary because so many people are out of work. It is so frustrating to send out resume after resume and hear nothing back.

My last job had a 60 mile a day commute. With gas prices what they are,  plus my sanity of driving through a tourist mecca, I wanted something closer to home.  I am so lucky that everything came together and I found a job with a 20 minute commute.

I know J is relieved because with him going to school full time, we really cannot afford for me to be out of work.

Photoshoped Justin

I start next week and I really couldn’t be happier.

The bad news is from a recent appointment with my Endocrinologist. My blood work was great (thyroid, glucose, and cortisol levels) as it has been for the last year. The issue is that I still have a nodule on my thyroid that is active. When you do the RAI, it typically kills all thyroid function. Mine did not.

The doctor decided to look at my nodule with an ultrasound and noticed that instead of one that I had six months ago. I now have two. It is most likely nothing but he suggested I have a biopsy to rule out cancer. Most nodules are not cancer. Thyroid cancer is very treatable but I am still freaked out. I thought that minus the regular blood work, I was done with dealing with thyroid issues.

So there it is, some really good news and some news that is probably going to be fine.

Avoiding The Sun

It is getting to the time of year again, when it is so blistering hot that breathing while walking briskly can be difficult. There are lots of great reasons to live in Florida, the theme parks and the beaches, but the humidity and sweltering heat for the majority of the year are not one of them.

Inspire Woman Runner

There are two ways to survive running in the Florida summer (and by summer I mean from April to October.)

1. Join a gym or have access to a treadmill that is in air-conditioning.

2. Run early enough to beat the heat.

I really want to wake-up and run first thing in the morning but a few obstacles have always stopped me. For my last job, I had a very long commute (34 miles each way) and I already woke up at 5:15 everyday. I did not think it was possible to wake up any earlier plus running alone in the dark scares me. I live in a fairly rural area and there are wild animals in my neighborhood. (I actually spotted a fox fighting a cat one time which was kind of cool. J  was able to scare the fox off.)

So the obvious solution is to join a gym. There are only two gyms that are remotely close to my house, so my plan is to get guest passes at both and see which one I like better. Then the difficulty will be getting runs done on a treadmill but anything is better than the blistering heat.

How do you deal with running in the summer?

Active Warm-Up And Goals

Training for my first half marathon, I developed a constant tightness in my IT band. It became painful but using a foam roller and finding a post-run Yoga routine helped for half number two. I found something that worked for me for after the run, what about before?

This video from Runner’s World came up in Google Reader last week.

It is full of dynamic stretches that open up your hips. It also gets your blood pumping and heart rate up before you start to run. I have done this routine before my last few runs and noticed an immediate difference. I feel ready to run immediately, rather than a mile or two in. My legs feel much loser and the tightness that I normally experience does not come.

One of my recent goals (beside finding suitable employment) has been to do more strength training. I have fallen off the wagon of regular strength training and need to get back on. It is becoming obvious how much strength I have lost and I would like to get it back.

So far this week I completed the fifteen minute full-body routine from Jackie Warner’s Power Circuit Training.

Jackie Warner Power Circuit Training DVD

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This is first time in months that I was able to motivate myself to do strength training after a run.

I even had a day of cross training with Jillian Michaels: Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism and am still sore two days later.

JillianMichaels Banish Fat Boost Metabolism

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Hopefully I can keep this momentum going.

As an Android user, I am really excited to finally be able to download Instagram. Please follow me at DinaRuns and I promise lots of pictures of cats and beer. (No trout pouts or hipster glasses though.)

J’s Birthday Extravaganza

J’s actual birthday was on Wednesday but we decided to celebrate over the weekend.

The party started on Friday when J opened his birthday presents from his parents.

Justin With Eagles Sweatshirt

The only thing he may love more than cats is the Eagles. (We even have Eagles fathead stickers all over our garage.)

I needed to keep my gift giving on the low-key side because of a serious lack of funds (and job). I got him a Ron Swanson bobble head from the NBC store.

Ron Swanson Bobblehead

Ron Swanson Bobblehead Box

Do you watch Parks And Recreation? If not, you should it is ridiculously funny.

We received a second package from the in-laws for Easter.

Dina with Easter Basket

(Yes, those are snowmen in the background. It being April, I probably should put those away.)

Easter candy! I love Peeps with a vengeance. (I can never decide which candy holiday is my favorite. Valentines, Easter, or Halloween? They all have really good candy but there are strong arguments to the merits of all three.)

Easter Basket Candy

If you like licorice, you have to try the Darrell Lea brand. They sell it at Target and it contains only natural ingredients. It is by no means a healthy snack but if you are going to eat candy, at least eat the kind with the most natural ingredients. Plus it is extremely tasty.

There was also a few little doodads included.

Pink Easter Chick

This little chick lights up like a disco ball. We also received some notebooks and a few plush Easter toys for the cats.

Friday night we saw Jerry Seinfeld perform at The Lakeland Center. It was a great show, Jerry is as funny as ever. For his encore, he took questions from the audience which was different. Most of the questions were mundane but someone did ask about the Superman references on Seinfeld. Jerry discussed all the reasons why he liked Superman.

On Saturday we stopped at the Track Shack and I picked up my new shoes. (Cannot wait to run in them. My old shoes are being held together by duct tape and hope, so the new ones should feel amazing.)

We had an early dinner at The Ravenous Pig, where we have eaten once before and loved.

To drink, I started with a Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale which was delicious and had zero aftertaste. J even liked it and he is not a big fan of brown ale’s. J had a vodka martini with blue cheese stuffed olives.

We shared a Gatherer salad (baby lettuces, avocado, pickled beets, radish, goat cheese, pistachios, herb vinaigrette) which was amazing. This is the half-sized salad but was still a sharable size.

J had the Seared Labelle Farms Foie Gras. It is served on ginger bread with apple butter, tokaji syrup, and cocoa nib granola. A really interested combination with the foie gras but J absolutely loved it.

We split the House-made Soft Pretzels. They come with a mustard and a taleggio-porter fondue that was incredible. The pretzels alone were wonderful and would be perfect with a nice beer if stopping in for a drink and appetizers.

For the main course, I had the Pub Burger. The last time we ate at The Ravenous Pig, burger after burger was ordered around us. Seeing that, I knew it had to be special and it was. The burger is topped with caramelized onions and buttermilk bleu cheese and the combination of these two items move it into otherworldly territory. Topped off with a brioche bun and served with truffle fries, it was impossible to put down.

J ordered the Colorado Lamb Leg which is served with a side of nettle and ramp gratin and topped with fried lemons, dill yogurt, and arugula. J is more of a rack of lamb person but enjoyed this dish. It was cooked to perfection and the nettle and ramp gratin was very unique.

We shared a Tomato Tart as a side. The tart was very summery and quite good.

There was one cocktail on the menu that we had to try, The Ravenous Pig Old Fashioned. The description for the drink is “bacon infused buffalo trace bourbon, vanilla maple syrup, and bitters.

Any drink garnished with bacon is after my heart. Neither of us are big fans of bourbon but enjoyed the drink. It is interesting to drink something that tastes so much like bacon.

Overall, The Ravenous Pig is two for two with us. Both trips had excellent service, unique and delicious food, and is not too pricey. I highly recommend if you are in the Orlando area.

Happy Birthday J, I had an amazing time celebrating it with you!